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Patent Anatomy 101 (An identification of portions found in a typical U.S. patent)

For any questions regarding these information fields or understanding a patent, please feel free to contact us here.

Figure 1: Patent Page 1

1. Patent Number: The patent number is the number assigned a granted patent on its issue date.
2. Issue Date of Patent: The date that the patent was issued. This date is used to calculate the maintenance fees paid to keep the patent enforceable. For more information on the calculation of the patent term of a patent, please click here. 
3. First Named Inventor
4. Patent Title
5. Inventor(s): The inventor is the person or person who contributed to at least one of the claims in the patent. A patent application must be filed in the name of the inventors of the invention.  
6. Assignee (if applicable): The assignee is the owner of the patent if the ownership has not been retained by the inventor. Ownership rights can also be assigned after a patent is issued and may not be listed on the patent document but may be recorded at the Patent Office.
7. Patent Term Adjustment: If the Patent Office fails to examine a patent application in time (deadlines for various steps are different), the patent term may be extended. Extensions or other delay taken by the applicant can reduce or eliminate the extension. The patent term may also be reduced by any disclaimer (called a "terminal disclaimer") to the patent term.
8. Application Number: This is the number assigned by the Patent Office for processing of the application while it is examined. It is not the same as the patent number.
9. Filing Date: The date on which the patent application was filed.  The filing date may be the priority date of a patent application which assumes is the date of the invention. While the priority date may be the same date as the filing date of the application, the priority date may be one year earlier if the application relies on the earlier filing date of a U.S. provisional application or a filing date of an earlier foreign patent application, each of which are filed within one year of the filing date. 
10. Prior Publication Data (if applicable): The publication number and date that the application was published by the Patent Office, which typically occurs eighteen months after the earliest filing date of the application.
11. Related U.S. Application Data: This field relates to prior filed applications related to the pending application.
11a. Continuing Patent Application (if applicable). A patent application which claims priority to an earlier patent application during its pendency. In the U.S., a continuing patent application may be categorized as a continuation, divisional, or continuation-in-part application.
11b. Provisional Application (if applicable): An application that establishes an early filing date of the invention and may be relied upon by a non-provisional application. The provisional application does not mature into an issued patent and expires within one year of its filing date.
12. Field of Search: The field of the prior art searched by the examiner as classified by the Patent Office in classess and subclasses (i.e., U.S. Cl. followed by XX/XX), as well as international classifications (i.e., Int. Cl.).
13. References Cited: This field includes earlier patents and patent publications (either U.S. or Foreign), or other publications disclosing inventions or subject matter similar to the invention of the patent. These references are considered "prior art."
14. Examiner: An employee of the Patent Office who participated in the examination of the application. This field may list both a primary examiner and an assistant examiner.
15. Attorney, Agent or Firm: The attorney, agent or law firm that represented the inventors in obtaining the patent.
16. Abstract: The abstract is a concise and general technical summary of the invention provided to inform the public.

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Figure 2: Page Details

17. Drawings: The drawings contain illustrations, diagrams, charts and other visual aids that are used to describe the invention. The drawings are numbered and discussed in more detail in the specification. A drawing is necessary whenever the nature of the invention requires a drawing to be understood.
18. Specification: The specification, which is also called the disclosure, describes the invention and defines the scope of the claims. A specification is typically divided as follows: a Drawing set and a written description typically including a Background of the Invention, Brief Summary of the Invention, Brief Description of the Drawings, Detailed Description of the Invention, and Claims.
18a. Columns: Each page of the written description is divided by numbered columns.
18b. Lines: Each column is divided into numbered lines.
19. Background of the Invention: The background of the invention is provided to describe the general and specific technical areas to which the invention is related. The background also may discuss the closest prior art to the invention and how such known prior art is different from the invention, as well as problems or disadvantages of known solutions at the time of the invention.
20. Brief Summary of the Invention: The summary is used to describe the invention that is being claimed in the set of claims at the end of the patent. The summary may discuss the nature and substance of the invention, and include statements on the objectives of the invention.

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Figure 3: Page Details

21. Brief Description of the Drawings. The brief description of the drawings provides short and concise summary as to the general nature of each drawing included in the patent, including such information as what is depicted in each drawing figure, the number of the drawing figure, and the type of drawing depicted by the figure.
22. Detailed Description of Invention. The detailed description of the invention describes the entirety of the invention in combination with the drawings. This description will discuss various exemplary embodiments of the invention, and is sufficiently detailed to enable one reading the description to be able to make or use the invention. The description refers to the various drawing figures and numbered elements provided in the figures.  The description should described best mode of the invention so that the skilled person can carry out the invention.
23. Claims: The claims are statements found at the end of the patent that define the legal protection of the patent. The claim or claims must conform to the invention as set forth in the remainder of the specification and the terms and phrases used in the claims must find clear support or antecedent basis in the description so that the meaning of the terms in the claims may be ascertainable by reference to the description. 
23a. Independent claim. An independent claim typically describes the scope of protection of the patent in its broadest terms. The claims includes elements in the form of limitations that are part of the invention.
23b. Dependent claim. A dependent claim includes all of the limitations of the independent claim from which it depends plus the limitations stated in the dependent claim. 

For any questions regarding U.S. patents, please feel free to contact us here.

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Figure 4: Foreign Priority Sample

26. PCT Application Data: A number of an application and its filing date filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) under the Patent Cooperative Treaty (PCT). Various data associated with the PCT application include the PCT application PCT Number, PCT 371 Date, PCT 102(e) Date, PCT Filing Date, PCT Publication Number, PCT Publication Date.
27. Foreign Priority Data: A field of data describing the application or applications filed outside of the U.S. upon which priority is claimed in the application.

For any questions regarding PCT applications, please feel free to contact us here.

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